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The African American Civil War Memorial and Museum

1 Feb

I’ve written twice on the website about connections between Lauderdale County and the United States Colored Troops (USCT) here and here. While visiting Washington DC for a conference, I finally had the opportunity to visit the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum. Not only is there an excellent exhibit at the museum, but right across the street from the museum is the USCT Memorial complete with a statue and plaques that bear the names of every member of the USCT, who served in the Civil War.

Of particular interest to me was finding the name of Major Gilliland/Gilden/Bates who happens to be my children’s 4th great uncle. Major was enslaved by David Gilliland in Lauderdale County, Tennessee as referenced in his USCT records. He enlisted in the 4th Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery. Despite the cold and rain, I found his name.

Major Gilden

Major Gilden

After locating Major’s name I then began to search for Wallace Nixon’s name. Wallace Nixon enlisted in the 3rd Regiment, United States Colored Heavy Artillery. I was able to locate him as well.

Wallace Nixon UCST

Wallace Nixon UCST

I am sure that there are other USCT troops from Lauderdale County and neighboring counties also featured there, but unfortunately, I could only remember these two names during my stop at the museum and memorial. If you are ever in Washington DC, admission to the African American Civil War Memorial and Museum is free, although they do request a donation.

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  • Tiffany
  • Image Sources: My Own

Camp Shiloh – Memphis, TN

7 Mar

Camp Shiloh, also known as The Colored People’s Camp, in Memphis, TN was a contraband camp for runaway slaves during the Civil War. Camp Shiloh was located in South Memphis. It is thought that due to the camp being majority female that their spouses had enlisted in the United States Colored Troops and that some were stationed at nearby Ft. Pickering. Camp Shiloh had over 300 houses as well as schools and churches. In 1863 a list was taken of the former slaves living there. The list was known was the Register of Freedmen. On the list were the names of the slaves and their ages, their occupation, the names of their former owners, their health status, and where they were from. I scanned the list for the names of slaves from our area and some of that information is below. I have copied the names exactly as they were listed, so some names may be spelled incorrectly.

You can search for other names on this list by clicking the following link.

http://www.lastroadtofreedom.com/documents/12.pdf

 

Ellen Buchanan 33

  • Owned by Mary Maclin of Haywood County, TN

Winnie Clay 45, Washington Clay 20, Vina Clay 18

  • Owned by Joseph Clay of Haywood County, TN

Jane Carter 40, Emily Carter 18, Sandy Carter 10, Buck Carter 6

  • Owned by Samuel Oldham of Haywood County, TN

Mary Curry 38

  • Owned by James Curry of Haywood County, TN

Albert Cox 42

  • Owned by Samuel Cox of Haywood County, TN

Carolina Burton 30, Alice Burton, Mark Burton 8

  • Owned by John Burton of Haywood County, TN

Margaret Green 26

  • Owned by John Drake of Haywood County, TN

Lutisia Miller 18

  • Owned by William Miller of Haywood County, TN

Ann McLamore 18

  • Owned by Sugar McLamore of Haywood County, TN

Angeline Noel 20

  • Owned by Joseph Clay of Haywood County, TN

Caroline Olden 55, Amelia Olden 10, Isabel Olden 18, Nellie Olden 63

  • Owned by Samuel Olden of Haywood County, TN

Ann Reed 24

  • Owned by John Burton of Haywood County, TN

I became interested in the lives of these former slaves after the end of the Civil War. Did they stay in Memphis or did they return back to Haywood County? I found a few leads, such as an Albert Cox living in Haywood County in 1870 on the US Census, but of course there is no definite way to determine that this was the same Albert Cox who had been at the Shiloh Camp.

 

– Tiffany

Sources: Register of Freedmen – http://www.lastroadtofreedom.com/documents/12.pdf

Information on TN Contraband Camps – http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/entry.php?rec=305 and http://lastroadtofreedom.org/uploads/3/1/1/7/3117447/tennessee.pdf

 

Moses Briggs – 100 Year Old Slave

12 Aug

In 1860 the United States required that each slave over 100 years old be identified on the 1860 Slave Schedules. I searched for our favorite towns and discovered one 100 year old slave living in Haywood County.

Moses Briggs

Moses Briggs 1860 Slave Schedule for Hiram Bass

Moses Briggs was the slave of Hiram Bass and he is identified as being a 100 year old male. What stood out to me was that Moses did not have the last name of his current slave owner. Taking the last name of your present slave owner was not always something that slaves did. In this instance the Briggs surname could possibly be used to identify a former owner.

Often slave owners would provide additional notes about the slaves. A note on Moses is listed below.

Moses Briggs Notes 1860 Slave Schedule

Moses Briggs Notes 1860 Slave Schedule

I believe that it states “Moses (collects, cultivates?) a hatch of cotton for him”. What do you think it says? Also, what stood out to me was the term “hatch”. Anyone familiar with how much cotton a “hatch” might have been?

 

Hiram Bass died in 1863 and in his will he left Moses to his wife Eliza. Moses is described in Hiram’s will as “Old Man Moses”. This also means that Moses lived to at least 103 years of age. Eliza died in 1867 after emancipation. I could find no results for Moses on the 1870 census. My hope is that he lived long enough to see emancipation.

 

– Tiffany

– Source: 1860 US Slave Schedules for Haywood County, TN, Hiram Bass’ Will via familysearch.org, Eliza Bass’ will via familysearch.org

PT Glass’ Will

24 Jul

If you’ve ever done genealogy for someone from Lauderdale County or even read something written about the history of Lauderdale County chances are that you’ve come across the GLASS surname. I’ve seen it quite a few times in my research and even have some individuals with the GLASS surname in my family tree.

While doing a bit of research I came across the will of PT (Presley Thornton) Glass. I was familiar with the name from reading history books written on Ripley and Lauderdale County. PT Glass had been a merchant in Ripley, secretary of Ripley Male Academy, a slave owner, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, a lawyer, a member of the Tennessee State legislature, a member of the United States Congress, and he even has his own Wikipedia page complete with a photograph of him. If you’ve ever been to Maplewood Cemetery you might have even seen his grave. In doing my research for another subject I had to do a bit of research on him and that’s when I discovered an interesting tidbit in his will upon his death in 1902.

PT Glass Will 1902

PT Glass Will 1902

“I give and bequeath to my former slave Prince Glass five dollars”

 

Adjusted for inflation that 5 dollars in 1902 would be worth 135 dollars today.

Naturally I wanted to find out more about Prince Glass. According to the 1870 US Census Prince Glass was born about 1852 in Tennessee (I also found his year of birth listed as 1847). His parents were Wallace Glass and Matilda Partee Glass. On the 1870 US Census his occupation is listed as farm laborer. By 1880 Prince had married the former Jennie Fitzpatrick and they soon had children named Eddie, Nellie, Prince Jr, Benj, and Katy. Prince died June 30, 1927 and is buried in Ripley, Tennessee.

Prince must have meant something to PT Glass if he left him money when he died. I noticed that PT Glass referred to Prince as his “former slave” instead of  laborer, so I am curious to know if Prince worked for PT in some form after slavery or what type of relationship that they had after slavery or even during slavery.

 

– Tiffany

Source: Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presley_T._Glass, Familysearch.org – TN Probate Court Books, 1795 – 1927, Lauderdale Wills 1885 – 1904 volume F, image 315, page 525

 

 

A Free African American Male in Lauderdale County in 1840?

21 Nov

I was scanning the 1840 census while I was working on a soon to be published story for the blog and noticed that a free, African American male makes an appearance on the 1840 US Census for Lauderdale County, TN.

This male was between 24 – 36 years in age and was living in the household of PG Davenport. What really stood out to me was that this male was marked as a free person, not a slave, when the census provided columns for the slaves to be marked.

PG Davenport 1840 US Census

PG Davenport 1840 US Census

I checked and this male does not make an appearance on the 1850 census in the household of PG Davenport. I checked the 1850 Slave Schedule and PG Davenport is listed with 1 male slave age 32. It is possible that it could be the same male from the 1840 census, but why is he now counted among the enslaved? Was it just a mistake that he was marked as a free male?

In trying to figure out the identity of the free African American male found on the 1840 census I decided to look into PG Davenport’s background. He was born Pleasant G. Davenport to his father Thomas Davenport (1759 – 1816) a Revolutionary War soldier and his mother Sarah Partlow (1772 – 1849) around 1808 in Laurens, South Carolina. He migrated to Lauderdale County, TN with his brother Samuel Davenport around the 1830s. His father Thomas died in 1816, but did not leave any slaves to Pleasant, so there goes my theory that maybe this male was left to Pleasant by his father.

By 1860 Pleasant is living in Bird, Jackson County, Arkansas where he dies in November of 1863. On the 1860 Slave Schedule he is listed as having 9 slaves, but none around the 44 – 56 year old age range that it would take for them to match the free male on the 1840 US Census.

Doing some research on Pleasant I found a series of journals called The Stream of History compiled by the Jackson County, Arkansas historical society. I did find a small paragraph written about Pleasant that indicated that he migrated to the area by steamboat and because there were no banks he packed his gold in boxes, so he apparently was very wealthy. This wealth really made me think that he had to have had a will.

Well, I went to FamilySearch.org (a great resource for probate records) and Pleasant actually died without a will. According to probate records when he died his estate was estimated to be worth 25,000. His probate record is more than 50 pages long and it was not settled until 1869 or later. I read through about fifty pages of records and there were no mentions of any slaves he might have owned. So much for my hope to find a will written by him so I could determine if he had any special affection for any of his slaves.

Back to the free African American male…

I’m not really sure who this gentleman was to Pleasant. He may have very well just been a slave who was marked incorrectly on the census. I have seen instances were slaveholders kept their mixed race siblings enslaved or in their household, so I thought maybe this could be the case, but it doesn’t appear to be at least from what I can tell. The identity of this male has more than likely been lost to history or may exist in private family records. When I saw that free African American male listed on the census I knew I had to immediately try to figure out who he was because that was a rarity for 1840s Tennessee. For now I will think of other ways he might be able to be identified.

 

– Tiffany

Sources: 1840 US Census for Lauderdale County, TN, 1850 Slave Schedule for Lauderdale County, TN, 1860 US Census for Jackson County, Arkansas, 1860 Slave Schedule for Jackson County, Arkansas, The Stream of History July 1964 Vol 2, Issue 3, Jackson County, Arkansas Probate Records provided by FamilySearch.Org

United States Colored Troops

23 May

In recognition of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the United States Colored Troops Fold3.com has announced that they have finished digitizing all records related to the USCT. From May 22 to 31, the digital collection of the USCT Service Records will be free on www.Fold3.com. After that, you will need a subscription to access Fold3, or you can use a computer in any National Archives facility nationwide to access these records for free.

What types of records can you find in the USCT digital collection?

Manumission Papers

Oaths of Allegiance

Proof of Ownership

Bills of Sale

Abstracts of a soldier’s service

Pictures

Payrolls Records

Prison Registers and Rolls

Parole Rolls

Inspection Reports

 

Unique to my own family genealogy I found a record of the slaveholder who owned my family.

Major Gilliland USCT Record

Major Gilliland USCT Record

I covered this story in more detail on my other blog http://distanthistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/major-gilden-mystery-solved/

So what are you waiting for? Check the records out if you know that you have a member of your family that was a member of the USCT. If you find information about previous slaveholders or even photographs please do share!

 

– Tiffany

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Black Life in Ripley, TN

4 May

#3 Father of the Blues WC Handy and his band used to perform at the Annual Confederate Veteran’s Picnic in Confederate Park

WC Handy

WC Handy

WC Handy, Father of the Blues, made his way to Ripley, Tennessee in 1907 with his band to play for our Confederate Veterans at their annual reunion picnic. According to the story there used to be a park known as Confederate Park not too far from Walker’s Motel on Highway 51. Each year the local Confederate Veterans would gather here and host a barbeque picnic. The entertainment for the picnic varied, but about 1907 they were able to get WC Handy to perform. Handy and his band would go one to perform at several of these picnics in later years. What would he have played at the picnic in 1907 and after? I’m sure he would have played “Mr. Crump aka The Memphis Blues” or “The St. Louis Blues”. He might have also played “Yellow Dog Blues” or “The Beale Street Blues”.

It is interesting to note that Handy was the son of former slaves playing at a reunion picnic for Confederate Veterans. Oh the irony! Nevertheless, I am positive he put on a good show and that a good time was had by all. Was Lauderdale County’s most famous Black Confederate Veteran Louis Napoleon Nelson in attendance? I’m sure he was.

Today WC Handy is honored in Memphis with a park bearing his name. His Memphis home has been turned into a museum and is appropriately located on Beale Street.

 

 

– Tiffany

– Source: Lauderdale County from its Earliest Times by Kate Johnston Peters